3 TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION TIBOR BENEDEK dies aged 47
Tibor Benedek, the legendary Hungarian water polo player and a three-time Olympic water polo champion who captained and later coached Hungary, has sadly passed away, as it was announced by the Hungarian Water Polo Federation on Thursday.
Australian Head Coach Predrag Mihailovic, who grew up playing water polo with Tibor was deeply shaken by the sudden news “Tibor was always known as one of the fittest and the toughest players in the water polo. A truly professional athlete and a big loss for the water polo community”.
Benedek, retired from all sporting due to an undisclosed illness, in May earlier this year.
He was a prolific goalscorer and won dozens of national and international titles with Hungary and club teams including Hungary’s UTE and Hoved and Italy’s Roma and Pro Recco.
Besides gold medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics, Benedek also won a world championship in 2003, a European championship in 1997, two World League titles and a World Cup.
He also won the Italian championship seven times, the Hungarian championship six times, and was a five-time winner of the Euroleague, once with UTE and four times with Pro Recco.
As Hungary coach, his biggest success was winning the 2013 world championship.
Born in Budapest on July 12, 1972, Benedek was extremely popular in Hungary, known for his total dedication to the sport and unyielding willpower.
He played a record 437 times for Hungary, retiring after the 2008 Olympics, the federation said.
Rest in peace legend.